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OECD public pension programmes in crisis : an evaluation of the reform options


  • Disney, Richard


Public pension programmes in Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) countries are difficulties. With aging populations, and declining participation of working age men in paid work, existing pension arrangements are likely to be unsustainable in the future in many of the richer OECD countries. Indeed, supporting existing pension commitments, even before the'baby boom'generation reaches retirement, has already proved problematic in countries such as Italy. Some governments have already taken steps to tackle the pension issue but there is inevitably conflict over who will bear the burden of retrenchment: will it be current taxpayers, current pensioners, or future generations of taxpayers and pensioners. Perhaps not yet born? This paper considers several issues. It examines the evidence as to whether public pension programmes in some richer OECD countries are indeed in need of major surgery, focusing in particular on the issue of fiscal sustainability. It then considers why programmes have got into financial difficulties. Consideration of this issue provides some clues as to what type of reform process is likely to be viable and credible. The paper then examines the strengths and weakness of some reform strategies. A central issue considered there is whether pension programmes should be funded or unfunded.

Suggested Citation

  • Disney, Richard, 1999. "OECD public pension programmes in crisis : an evaluation of the reform options," Social Protection and Labor Policy and Technical Notes 20849, The World Bank.
  • Handle: RePEc:wbk:hdnspu:20849

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Richard Disney & Robert Palacios & Edward Whitehouse, 1999. "Individual choice of pension arrangement as a pension reform strategy," IFS Working Papers W99/18, Institute for Fiscal Studies.
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    Cited by:

    1. Miroslav Verbič & Rok Spruk, 2014. "Aging Population and Public Pensions: Theory and Macroeconometric Evidence," Panoeconomicus, Savez ekonomista Vojvodine, Novi Sad, Serbia, vol. 61(3), pages 289-316, June.
    2. John B. Williamson, 2001. "Future Prospects for Notional Defined Contribution Schemes," CESifo Forum, Ifo Institute - Leibniz Institute for Economic Research at the University of Munich, vol. 2(4), pages 19-24, October.
    3. Katharina Müller, 2003. "Die Rentenreformen in den mittel- und osteuropäischen EU-Beitrittsländern," Vierteljahrshefte zur Wirtschaftsforschung / Quarterly Journal of Economic Research, DIW Berlin, German Institute for Economic Research, vol. 72(4), pages 551-564.
    4. Kunibert Raffer, 2011. "Neoliberal Capitalism: A Time Warp Backwards to Capitalism’s Origins?," Forum for Social Economics, Springer;The Association for Social Economics, vol. 40(1), pages 41-62, April.


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